The harsh economic situation in the country is steadily pushing many Nigerians into illicit businesses. Some are streaming overseas, going across the merciless Sahara Desert and ending up in the belly of the brutish Mediterranean Sea. Some are being deceived by the day by unscrupulous persons with fake promises of jobs overseas.
Martha was such a victim. In 2001, shewas lured into prostitution in Burkina Faso. It all started with a spurious promise of a job and then the “come and travel” frenzy and she fell for it all.
Before she left for the West African country, she was a hairdresser residing in Benin, Edo State. But one day one of her male acquaintances, Osas (not real name), showed up and urged her to come out of poverty by travelling with him to a land of greener pastures, and she agreed. At that time she was 20 years old.
“When Osas came from Burkina Faso to Nigeria and realised that things were difficult for me and my family and that my business was not moving well, he deceitfully promised to help me.
“At that time, there was abject poverty in our family. I grew up not knowing who my father was, he died while I was still an infant.
“Osas promised to get me a rosy job, as my hairdressing job was no longer flourishing. I thought it could thrive better there. I thought about the prospects of assisting my mother; based on his promises, I gave in.
“Naturally, I became excited at the opportunity of travelling and getting a paying job overseas. That thought alone occupied me until we left Nigeria.
“When we arrived in Burkina Faso, the story changed,” she recalled in a stirring testimony at the Lords Chosen Charismatic Renewal Movement, in Lagos. “Osas did the unthinkable. To my surprise, he sold me to a woman for the sum of N250,000.
It was at that point that the woman told me that I would make money for her through prostitution. She threatened and forced me into it.
“I could not speak the language, and there was no one I could run to; I had no dime to return to Nigeria either. That was how I was forced into prostitution.
“Burkina Faso was a strange land. I hadn’t been there before neither did I know anyone there. Initially, I couldn’t do what they asked me to do; I bluntly refused the proposal but the woman pressured me into doing so.
Then, as time went on, I succumbed to her aggression.” From that point, Martha’s plunged headlong into the world of prostitution.
“When I started the job, I had many customers. One of them was my present husband. He loved me so much. I could see how he was coming closer and closer to me. He was taking a great interest in me; he wanted to help me out of the business.
Gradually, he began to take a deeper interest in me. Both of us began to develop an intimate relationship. I was surprised that he began to do everything possible to get me out of the trade and change my lifestyle. But all
his efforts I rebuffed. I resisted it all.” She disclosed that, at some point, she became pregnant for him because they were both in love.
Today, she is happily married to her husband and happier because God used him to change her and gave her a new life. And, guess what, she is now a wife and mother of five children, four boys and a girl.
Tracing her road out of the illicit trade, Martha said: “One day, I fought the woman that was in charge of me. When she could not continue with me she paid for my return to Nigeria. From then I began to live on my
“But at some point, the business began to go bad; the number of my customers began to dwindle. Things gradually became bad because money was no longer forthcoming like before.